When I graduated from the University of Ado-Ekiti in 2014, I had attended just under 100 lectures. I began counting in 200 level.
Don’t ask me how I did it. Over the 6 years or so I spent in Ado, my parents had grown understandably frustrated. My colleagues hated me. Lecturers couldn’t pick me out of a lineup.
One particular HOD sent me out midway through an exam because he had never seen me in his class. But in the midst of all that class-stabbing and tearing up the timetables in symbolic defiance, I had learned that skipping classes isn’t such a bad idea.
Undergrads got no love for mundane stuff like classes anymore.
Over the years, a generation of dropout entrepreneurs and the small fact that people never end up in the fields they studied in school has made flunking or dropping out more appealing.
Lately, more students have been asking just how important (or not) it is to attend lectures while in University.
You already know the answer I’m inclined to give. But five years seems like aeons ago. And while education in Nigeria hasn’t changed much, I’m aware things may be different for the 9-3-4 generation.
So I decided to ask a group of undergraduates.
And who better to ask than a batch of students who are known for constantly having something on the side; UNILAG students. Here’s what they said about skipping classes and why it’s not a horrible idea.
*Students names have been changed at the owners’ request to avoid stories that touch.
Ayomide (21) Thinks You Can Plan What Lectures To Stab Like A Pragmatic Delinquent
“I don’t think these universities actually think of how effective the lectures are, but they want you to come. So they scare you with attendance and impromptu tests. But if your grades are not dependent on those, you can actually work out an arrangement that works for you.”
“I usually study the timetable and course outlines so I attend lectures for courses and topics that are very difficult. The rest of them I just read at home. I spend the time mostly recording and hanging with my friends at the studio. I’m in Final Year and my grades are pretty good.”
Ebele (18) Thinks Lectures Are So 1990 And Students Have Moved On
“My older brother is my role model and he never went for lectures. So I came into school with the impression that I could wring my way out of classes, get good grades and focus on what you need to do.”
“I think we live in a world where information is easily accessible, people record lectures nowadays, there are materials on the internet so the lectures are not as important. You can pass without them and use the time for other things.”
Anwuli (19) Thinks Lectures Today Are One Giant, Redundant Setup.
“Lmao. This is actually funny because lectures would only be useful if they were teaching you useful stuff. In my mass communication department now, for instance, they split some of us into a group that is focusing on print media and radio”
“What kind of eternal setup is that? Why are you teaching people about radio when all the media today is online? Skipping lectures would only hurt you if there was something to gain in the first place.”
Tare (20) Thinks Balance Is Everything.
“Skipping lectures can go either way, to be honest. You can end up missing a lot of class work, piling up assignments, missing attendance points and the lecturer can even give you problems when it’s time to write exams. But the thing is you can actually be fine without it.”
“Many of my colleagues who have other interests are using their times to chase their side hustles, and when it’s close to exams, they show up, study with us in groups and they pass. So it really depends on how and why you do it.”
Sope (22) Thinks Universities Are More About Discovery Than Random Lectures
“If I’m being serious, lectures don’t do anything for you. Yes, they’ll use attendance to scare you in UNILAG, but the truth is there’s nothing they’re teaching that you can’t learn on your own.”
“Also, a lot of us come here as kids and it’s only after a while that we discover that we have no interest in what we’re studying. If you ask someone like that to attend all the lectures instead of chasing their path, they’ll probably end up frustrated for the rest of their lives.”
So, it appears attendance marks are a real reason why a lot of students attend classes, not, you know, sheer desire for knowledge and all that good stuff.
Of course, this is a relatively small sample size that does not reflect what the entire UNILAG student body thinks, but it’s a significant starting point.
The most striking thing though is that students now think of university in terms of boxes to be checked–grades to achieve, courses to pass, units to amass, rather than an experience. That’s why these guys believe skipping classes isn’t a bad idea.
Are there ways to fix this? Certainly.
But a better alternative is to move forward and build universities into something more than academic centres. I know for sure I’d have gone to more classes if everything didn’t have ‘study or die’ written all over it.